New Brunswick

'It's the most colourful thing:' Annual Festival Inspire draws artists from around the world

A number of buildings in Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe are getting a visual facelift thanks to the third annual Festival Inspire.

'Everyone has some sort of creative say in what's going on'

Toronto based artist BirdO said he knew he wanted to take part in Festival Inspire after meeting the organizers. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

A number of buildings in Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe are getting a facelift thanks to the third annual Festival Inspire. 

The festival started on July 10 and includes murals, live art, street performances and music in a seven-day celebration of art and culture, said festival co-founder and executive director, Lisa Griffin.

"It's the most colourful thing happening around, I think, and also because I think it's a very grassroots based organization and everyone has some sort of creative say in what's going on," Griffin said.

"This is a special place to paint. Because it's quite a small city and its growing, it feels like it's growing up to be a real city."

Festival growing

Griffin said the festival continues to increase in popularity, this year attracting artists from around the world.

Artor Bordello, known as Bordalo II, came from Lisbon to take part in the festival.

Bardalo II, from Lisbon, said he will create a wood turtle art installation from a pile of garbage. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

In the past, he created art installations as far away as Moscow, but Festival Inspire gave him a chance to visit somewhere new, he said.

"It's great. I think these kind of things are great. It's fresh." he said, adding that he collected trash for his latest creation, a sculpture of a wood turtle.

"It's going to be a wood turtle and the meaning behind this piece is to create an animal, an image of the victim of what kills it. In this case with the trash," he said.

Meeting leads to visit

Toronto-based artist BirdO was also hard at work, at the Chocolate River Station in Riverview.

He said he met the organizers of Festival Inspire last year in Toronto and was so impressed, he made immediate plans to attend the festival this year.

When he arrived, he was inspired by "what I'm hearing is locally, playfully called the Chocolate River," he said.

BirdO said he's painting a "river critter" mural on a building.

"He's a little eel that will be winding through the beams and the brick pillars of the structure," he said, adding that he likes it when the public engages in the creation of his art.

This mural was painted on the back of the Chocolate River Station during the 2016 Festival Inspire. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

It's more important than ever for people to support public art, he said.

"We live in a time where we're sort of inundated with screens and advertising billboards and tablets. And so, in my humble opinion, it's sort of a nice breath of fresh air implementing art into communities." he said. 

His mural will take about seven days to complete.

Appreciates support

Griffin said she's thankful to the community for its support and feedback on the festival.

"They enable and create capacity," she said, adding that many of the artists walk away with a sense of pride in their work.
Lisa Griffin, co-founder and executive director of Festival Inspire, said the festival continues to increase in popularity. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

"The artists hear the most amazing feedback like 'you changed my life, this mural changes my city, it's so much more beautiful,' 

"This festival wouldn't be what it is without the community."